EarthLabs > Climate and the Carbon Cycle: Unit Overview > Lab 4: Forests - Changes in the Land

Forests: Changes in the Land


The image to the right shows acres of forest in Mexico being cut down and burned to make way for agricultural land.

Approximately 50% of a tree's weight is comprised of carbon that originated from atmospheric carbon dioxide. What happens to this carbon when trees are cut down to make way for agriculture, or are destroyed by natural phenomena such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and insect infestations? In this lab, you will explore answers to these important questions: In Part A, you will use videos, satellite images and interactive tools to analyze the impact of wildfires and deforestation on the carbon cycle and the environment. You will explore a case study on using Inga trees to mitigate environmental problems caused by slash and burning farming methods. Lastly, you will use the Global Forest Cover Tool at World Resources Institute to research changes in forest cover based on an original research question developed by you.

In Part B, you will use a case study of Northern Boreal Forests undergoing ecological changes to identify and analyze the causal relationships and feedbacks that emerge from these ecological changes.

After completing this investigation, you will be able to:

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions. Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.

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